According to a news report on January 13th, PUBG New State developer Krafton filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, and the game developer Garena, names behind popular household Free Fire MAX. Furthermore, YouTube was also named in the lawsuit for hosting many videos of the infringing material. That wasn’t the first lawsuit filed by Krafton over copyright infringement. As early as May 2018, Krafton sued Fortnite maker Epic Games, alleging similar infringement of its intellectual property. That lawsuit, brought in Krafton’s headquarters country of South Korea, was withdrawn soon.
Battle Royale games have always been one of the highest-grossing games in the mobile games industry worldwide. While PUBG Mobile, one of the star products, grossed over 7 billion USD in revenue in November 2021, two new Battle Royale games were released to become big hits at the end of the same year.
On 28 September 2021, Free Fire MAX, an updated version of the popular shooter game Free Fire, was released for public beta. On 11 November 2021, PUBG-maker Krafton officially launched the Battle Royale mobile game, PUBG: New State.
PUBG New State vs Free Fire MAX
Attracting much market attention upon their release, the two games became the top 1 game by downloads on Google Play in October and November 2021 respectively. Based on the data from SocialPeta, the world’s leading advertising and marketing platform, this article will analyze the performance of the two games in three aspects including download and revenue, advertising strategy, and popular ad creatives.
1. Download and Revenue
New State with amazing downloads; Free Fire with slightly better revenue
Let’s first look at their downloads. Though Garena Free Fire Max (hereinafter referred to as “GFFM”) was launched as early as late September 2021, both games had been downloaded over 50 million times as of December 2021. Obviously the later launched but more orthodox PUBG: New State (hereinafter referred to as “PNS”) was better boosted.
GFFM received 50.5 million downloads in 2021, with 12.1 million downloads from the App Store and 38.4 million downloads from Google Play. The game recorded its daily peak downloads on the third day after its release, with nearly 5.6 million downloads on that day. And it recorded its weekly peak downloads in the first week after its release, with over 12.2 million downloads in the week from 12 to 18 October 2021. After a month since its release, the game maintained a stable number of downloads, about 240,000 downloads a day.
PNS received 70.5 million downloads since its release in 2021, with 10.9 million downloads from the App Store, accounting for 15.5%, and 59.6 million downloads from Google Play, accounting for 84.5%.
The game recorded around 3 million daily downloads from Google Play in the first week since its release. Its downloads dramatically increased on 1 December 2021 to achieve nearly 9 million daily downloads.
Now let’s move to the revenue of the two games. In 2021, GFFM grossed 37.2 million USD and PNS grossed 6.4 million USD. GFFM generated 18 million USD on the App Store and 19.2 million USD on Google Play, with its daily revenue on the App Store peaking at over 450,000 USD on 30 September 2021, and its daily revenue on Google Play peaking at over 520,000 USD in late October 2021.
PNS generated 2 million USD on the App Store and 4.4 million USD on Google Play, with its daily revenue on the App Store peaking at over 100,000 USD on 7 December 2021, and its daily revenue on Google Play peaking at over 600,000 USD on 1 December 2021. GFFM recorded a revenue of 19.9 million USD from 28 September to 15 November 2021, and PNS recorded revenue of 6.4 million USD from 13 November to 27 December 2021.
Though PNS had a slightly lower revenue during that period, because it received over 70 million downloads within less than 2 months and as a brand-new game it has great potential in generating more revenue, it is believed that PNS will achieve a much better performance in 2022.
2. Advertising Strategy
Free Fire focused on Asia; New State expanded into Europe and America
Both games had started advertising to attract prospective players long before they were released. SocialPeta noticed ad creatives for GFFM as early as January 2017. The game had 1025 deduplicated creatives in 2021. PNS had also started advertising 10 months before its release. According to SocialPeta, the game had 5071 deduplicated creatives in 2021.
GFFM had an average of 32 creatives per day on iOS and 46 creatives per day on Android. The game’s daily creatives peaked around the time of its official release, peaking at 391 daily creatives on iOS and Android combined, with video creatives accounting for 56%. The game is mainly advertised to Pakistan, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with ad creatives in Pakistan accounting for 31.57% of total creatives.
Google Ads was the game’s first choice for advertising, contributing 38.1% of the game’s total creatives. As far as impressions go, the game got a bigger amount of exposure on Facebook, receiving over 37 million estimated impressions on Facebook.
As for PNS, it had an average of 100 creatives per day on iOS and 334 creatives per day on Android. The game started to advertise greatly since July and received a peak of ad creatives in late October, peaking at over 1200 daily creatives on iOS and Android combined, with video creatives accounting for 61%. The game focused on advertising to the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, with ad creatives in the three countries combined accounting for over 1/4 of the game’s total creatives.
Facebook was the game’s first choice for advertising, contributing 20.99% of the game’s total creatives. As far as impressions go, the game got a bigger amount of exposure on Instagram, receiving over 60 million estimated impressions on Instagram.
3. Popular Ad Creatives
Novel Free Fire vs. Exciting New State
The two games were also different in their ad creatives. Mainly because GFFM’s popular creatives focused on displaying its new in-game items and skins and new gameplay to attract more players to play the game.
While PNS, as a brand-new game, had most of its popular creatives made from its high-quality PV videos, trying to attract players with creatives as high-quality as PUBG PC and with exciting fighting scenes.
Game companies are challenged comprehensively when they are trying to make a Battle Royale shooter game like PUBG New State or Free Fire MAX successful. Because they need to make sure the game has smooth controls, smooth server connection, a stable number of gamers, efforts in fighting against cheating, and many other things. Of course, brilliant marketing strategies will help your game get a good start.